Monday, March 30, 2009

Obituary – Qasim Ali, A Good Man

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Reading Arundhati Roy

He died on March 29th, aged 25.

[Text and picture by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Qasim Ali, a resident of Daryaganj in Old Delhi, a journalist, an occasional photographer and my friend died on March 29, 2009, aged 25. Early this year he was diagnosed with leukaemia. Thereafter he was admitted in Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, Rohini, from where he was not able to return home.

Mr Ali, who is survived by his parents and an elder brother, always encouraged me with my writing. We had also planned to walk around in Daryaganj bylanes together but could never work out the plan. During Ramzan, in the winter of 2008, he had insisted that I break my fast in his house with his family but somehow I could not make it. However, once we went to Connaught Place where he graciously posed for my camera with my favorite novel, Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things.

Mr Ali was a good man, a practicing Muslim who would rarely miss his Friday prayers. His e-mail id was qasimaligogeous@gmail. We used to chat very often on Gmail. Here is a sample:

qasim: hey i wanna do a story with you
me: which story?
qasim: i am thinking on it
me: ok
qasim: trying to jot some points
i wil let u know
me: ok

As it happened, we never got around to do any story together. I also could not visit Mr Ali during his very brief but fatal spell of illness. The morning after his death, Mr Ali was buried in a graveyard in ITO which is just a short ride away from his home. To me, he will always remain handsome, healthy and young.

ps: Qasim, if you are reading this, you must know that you will be remembered.


Rima Kaur said...

may he rest in peace. someone very dear to me passed away due to the same illness a couple of years ago. its difficult to get over someones death

Anonymous said...

What can any reader say at this loss?

"No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent... any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind."

I am sorry for the loss of your friend, Mayank.

May he be at peace, and may you find peace for yourself.


Anonymous said...

Inna lillahi wa inna elaihi raaji oon.

"To God we belong and Unto Him is our return"


Milan Kuchhal said...

generally the people got wash out from our memory very soon after their death.
writing about them on our blog, we made them immortal........
you just did the same Mayank.


Mayank Austen Soofi said...

Qasim's friend has written this remembrance for him in his blog:

Jaate hue kehte ho qayamat mein milenge
Kya khoob qayamat ka hai dooja koi din aur
Haan ae falak e peer jawaan tha abhi ‘’Aarif’’
Kya tera guzarta jo na marta koi din aur

Legendary poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib wrote the above quartet on the sad demise of his nephew Aarif. The same thing happened with me on 29th March ,2009 when I lost one of my best friend Qasim Ali , who used to regard me as his elder brother. I have known Qasim since last one and a half year and still cannot believe that things can come to such a passé within a short span of just 20 days between 8th March and 29th March. He was just like a normal, gym going athletic handsome guy on 7th March and on the 8th he was diagnosed with suffering from the deadly disease of Leukaemia. I will always miss the days of our working together in Hindustan Times when we used to crack jokes and play pranks. I could not ever think of writing an obituary for him.
Qasim, now you have left us grieving I cannot and won’t ever forget the things and memories associated with you. The day when you died was the 12th death anniversary of my late father. How can I forget that cold night of January when you brought dinner for me on the birthday of your sweet niece Irmish while I was working in the office. I kept you waiting for 20 mins because of the hectic schedule that day. I will also miss your brotherly affection towards me. Qasim, you suffered immense pain during the 20 days of your ailment. These 20 days made the world upside down for your grieving family. Our sadness and remorse stands nowhere in front of the scar which your death left on the heart of your mother. While you were battling for your life in AIIMS she kept reading The Holy Qur’an beside you day and night. Once she told me: ‘’Hassan mera dil kehta hai mera beta bach jayega’’. I don’t have words to pay condolence to her. Your parents and brother couldn’t gather the courage to ask the doctor about your condition. Whenever I asked the doctor about your condition he gave negative feedback and each and every time I kept lying to your family members that your condition is stable and will improve within few days.

Sometimes I ask myself, why did this happen with a young and energetic guy like you. But these are the questions whose answers are not possible for anyone to give. You seemed to be always in a hurry as if you know that you are here just for few days. Qasim, do u remember the day when you told me , ''Hassan bhai we will launch a News Channel together''. All those dreams have been shattered.

My dear Qasim, : ‘’Tanha gaye kyun ab raho tanha koi din aur.’’ Lets see when do I join you there.

Zamane ne dekhe jawaan kaise kaise
Zameen kha gayi aasmaan kaise kaise

God bless you my brother. Stay happy wherever you are. My your soul rest in peace.

Yours ever
Hassan Bhai

Sanjeev said...

I just randomly landed at this blog and then this post but reading the comments at this post, I am reduced to tears at your loss.

What a moving tribute from Hassan.

My sincere condolences on this loss. I am short of words to say anything besides this.. but words cannot comfort the parents, brother, and friends after a loss like this.